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Approximately 165,000 km2 of the sea floor off southern California was mapped during May 1984, as part of a USGS/IOS cooperative program to study the newly proclaimed Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the United States Pacific margin. The area was insonified using the Geological Long-Range Inclined Asdic (GLORIA), a long-range side-scan sonar system. Images were corrected for water-column velocity anomalies, for along-track distortions caused by variations in ship speed, and for slant-range distortions caused by acoustic ray travel paths. A photo-mosaic of the overlapping sonographs has been compiled at a scale of 1:375,000.
The basins of the inner California continental borderland are characterized by both sinuous channel and fan complexes and by feathery acoustic patterns indicating active sediment transport. In contrast, outer borderland basins appear to be more sediment starved, exhibit large areas of sediment failure, and show significant structural influence.
West of Patton Escarpment, the sonographs are dominated by acoustic patterns showing volcanic ridges and seamounts and by deposits of the Monterey and Arguello Fans. Arguello Fan, for example, exhibits multiple sinuous channels that have transported sediment 60 km south from the canyon mouth. These channels coalesce into a single 100-km long, westward-meandering channel that terminates in a 600-m deep box canyon. A zone of sediment failure is identifiable on the north levee of an upper fan channel. Tectonic trends associated with oceanic basement are highlighted by the terminus of the west-trending Murray Fracture Zone and by the prevailing northeast trend of volcanic ridge and seamount chains.
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